If you’re reading this column, it’s highly probable your phone has hundreds of photos featuring grandkids.
And I’m good with having readers who haven’t been to a kegger in decades. Let’s politely say y’all have adapted through the years.
Three characteristics that my reader base shares: 1) Love of this community; 2) Curiosity to keep learning; and 3) Willingness (for the most part) to go with the ever-changing information flow.
Instead of writing letters, you’re sending emails.
Instead of calling your adult children or grandkids, you’re texting or FaceTiming.
Instead of slowing down, you’re showing up.
You deserve something in return. For free.
For all the reasons above — even if you’re twentysomething and stumbled onto this column — we want to preview new features we’re adding to newsobserver.com.
This is a newspaper editor’s version of a blockbuster movie trailer — without Tom Cruise or buttery popcorn but essentially free.
We want to let you know about….
Free community listings (for economical writers)
So, you’re organizing a community event and need a crowd? The N&O’s new Community Marketplace allows you to self-publish a community event. If you’re reading this column in the Sunday print newspaper’s Local section, grab your phone or laptop. Go to newsobserver.com and search “Community Marketplace.” You’ll find a how-to article that walks you through the process, including how long you’d want event details available for the public.
Two things to know: 1) You’ll need to register to post an item; 2) The first five lines are free; additional lines cost $1.50 per line/per day extra. (Our pro tip: Write tight, write bright.)
The new Community Marketplace’s events/announcements category is uber-new, and we’re in the early stages of getting the word out. But we’ve already seen activity.
The first posting came for an event titled “Bold Ideas for Equity: A State of Student U Event,” a free one-hour virtual event at noon Wednesday, March 8. (If you’re reading this story online, click on this link to sign up.)
“We are calling on our community to unleash their creativity and innovation to address the complex and multifaceted issue of equity in education. By working together, we can build a more just and equitable Durham for all students,” organizers said about this event.
We recognize that numerous organizers are looking to get the word out about Triangle events. The N&O’s Community Marketplace is our way of helping out.
Free financial news (for all ages)
Our smart friends on McClatchy’s editorial experimentation team have created The Sum, an Instagram-based news experience with this cheery focus: “We make finance and economic news add up.” The good news is you can find The Sum’s stories and interactive tools already populating newsobserver.com.
Google “The Sum News & Observer” or (if you’re on one of our digital platforms) click here. Regardless if you’re a Triangle college student trying to travel on a budget or a retired economics professor helping grandkids understand the realities of household budgets and adulting, The Sum has smart, quick-to-digest answers on complex economic issues and “how they impact your life.”
McClatchy’s editorial experimentation team came to us because of the Triangle’s large college audience and growing number of young professionals. We saw this emerging audience a year ago with the launch of “RDU on the Rise,” a weekly newsletter written by The N&O’s latest generation of journalists. You’ll see The Sum content popping up in future editions of N&O newsletters. You can sign up free for our newsletters.
Free can be a relative term.
Even the lure of a high-scoring ACC tournament game and a free Bojangle’s sausage biscuit comes with the catch of ordering online (for a small fee).
The N&O’s free events listings and free financial advice are available for the economic tradeoff known as your time.
And among the grandkids-photo-sharing regulars of this column, time is always a good thing.
Bill Church is executive editor of The News & Observer. He and his wife have two grandkids, who are smart and picturesque (of course).